Tuesday, 8 January 2019

#Veganuary Food Diary 2019 - Week One

Dec 2020 Update
I've published a memoir entitled Finally a Vegan: My Journey to Veganuary and Beyond by Stephanie Jane.
Get yourself a copy from my Etsy Shop or find out more on my Literary Flits blog post

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Sweet and Sour Tofu
by Pickled Plum 
This is a post about my experience during the first week of Veganuary 2019. I'm going to talk about vegan food. If that's going to offend you, please feel welcome to discover My Travels in Portugal or read Reviews of My Favourite Books instead!

OK, that's hopefully gotten rid of Piers Morgan! I checked #Veganuary on Twitter a couple of times this week hoping to find inspirational vegan recipes I could try out in future weeks. There's loads of fab mouth-watering links, but also a depressingly large amount of spite and hate tweets as well. This reminded me why I tend to be such a misanthrope!

In this post I'm going to stick to my main motivation for taking part in Veganuary which is to discover great new-to-me food. I am an unabashed foodie and love my plate to have lots of bright colour as well as delicious flavours. New recipes are a great way to discover new cuisines so, for my first week, I've been eating Greek Pita Breads (My Greek Dish recipe), Gambian Domoda Stew (Viva recipe), and Chinese Sweet And Sour Tofu (Pickled Plum recipe). All made myself from scratch. I love cooking too! (What I don't love is faffing about trying to take a perfect blog photo while my dinner goes cold so you'll notice all pics here are borrowed from the site where I found its recipe. Click the pics or food names to visit each one.)

Pita breads by My Greek Dish

I'm in our motorhome at the moment so limited to meals I can cook on a three-ring gas hob or in a small slow cooker. We have a small fridge with a tiny freezer compartment. To add to the complexity, my OH isn't even vegetarian so we now usually cook our own meals. One of the things I have learned this week is just how many portions one can get from a red cabbage. When only one person is eating it, this cheap vegetable will easily last for nearly a week! Yay, cabbage. Again! So for me, buying vegan food seems to work out even more economically than vegetarian (good cheese is expensive!) although I do appreciate that this is mostly because I am happy to cook and so primarily buy raw ingredients. If I relied on ready meals and pre-prepared food I could easily spend ridiculous amounts of money and (probably) not eat as well.

Gambian Domoda Stew by Viva! 

Here's what I ate this week:

Tues, Wed, Thur: Porridge made with flaked oats and almond milk
Fri, Sat, Sun, Mon: Porridge made with flaked oats and soy milk

I've been making non-dairy porridge for us both for months so the only new thing this week was a few days of almond milk because the Continente supermarket had temporarily sold out of soy. I normally use soy and have discovered that I prefer its flavour to that of the almond.

Tues: Roti with baked beans, banana
Wed: Pita bread with Marmite, banana
Thur: Pita bread with peanut butter
Fri: Pita bread with Marmite and peanut butter (one on each of two breads, not mixed together!
Sat: Bean and sweetcorn chilli with spinach and basmati rice
Sun: Sojasun Vegetable Nuggets with sweet chilli sauce
Mon: Pita bread with fried tofu slices, banana

The pita breads are one of my lunch staples. I use half the quantities in the My Greek Dish recipe and split the dough into six breads. They are dangerously moreish straight from the pan, but also keep well in an airtight box for up to four days. I 'refresh' them for a couple of minutes in a hot frying pan if they do feel a tad stale.
The Soyasun nuggets were my only premade food and they were nice enough! Quick, easy to cook and ok value at their nearly-out-of-date reduced price of €2.

Tues: Domoda Stew with red cabbage
Wed, Thur: Bean and Potato Burgers with red cabbage
Fri: Bean and sweetcorn chilli with spinach and basmati rice
Sat: Pepper Soup with Pita Bread
Sun, Mon: Sweet and Sour Tofu with basmati rice

I'd made the Domoda Stew before. It's perfect winter comfort food. This time I halved the Viva! recipe and just crumbled in one veg stock cube instead of liquid stock. This resulted in three pretty large portions of a thick nutty stew.
My new wow dish is Pickled Plum's Sweet and Sour Tofu. This one is absolutely a keeper - easily as good as from a Chinese takeaway! I swapped courgette for the green pepper, added two chopped up pineapple rings and only had red wine vinegar, and it was still superb. The floured tofu is an excellent trick.

I've limited myself to a couple of snacks a day most of which have been fruit. We did share two bars of dark chocolate over two nights and also spoonfuls of chocolate coconut 'fudge' on New Year's Day. You might remember I planned to condense coconut milk to make a vegan Slow Cooker Fudge. Well, the condensing worked perfectly - can of coconut milk, two tablespoons of demerera sugar, and let it slowly cook down until its as thick as dairy condensed milk. Unfortunately I then got the proportions wrong for the fudge stage so good taste, but it just wouldn't set. More focus needed next time!

And finally my vegan motivation book suggestion this week is:
Farm Land: Sentience by Gemma Lawrence, a dystopian fantasy novel. You can Read My Review Here.

Are you doing Veganuary too? If so, please link up your recipe successes in the Comments so I can visit and be inspired!


  1. Looks yummy what you had!
    xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena

    1. The Sweet and Sour was especially delicious. Tangy with lots of flavour :-)

  2. I've never had tofu. One of these days I want to try it.

    1. Dave actually suggested we tried tofu first which really surprised me because he's not always the most adventurous of eaters!

  3. I think I could do vegetarian without a lot of problem. I love rice, beans, veggies, and fruit. My husband doesn't cook and is not giving up meat so we do eat meat. I think you have been eating really well and I must say that I am a big cabbage fan :)

    1. We tend to cook individual meals these days because, since the whole menopause thing started for me, I'm just totally off eating meat. I guess it's fussy hormones!

  4. Yummy! I want to eat healthier this year, so I need to check out some of these links. I was vegan in college but fell off the wagon because I love chocolate and bacon.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

    1. I'm learning to like dark chocolate so that's not too much of a loss - and probably a good way to cut down how much of it I eat!